Improve Your Business Fast
A Procedure Manual will dramatically improve your business almost overnight. Your team need detailed instructions to follow to perform their role correctly. Think of the instructions you receive when you buy that flat pack furniture. It’s no different.
If you received no instructions with the flat pack furniture, how would you possibly be able to assemble it correctly? You might be able to guess 50% of it correctly but chances are it isn’t going to turn out too well.
Your team need detailed instructions in a similar manner. If you are trying to operate a business without this tool you are in for one major headache. In fact, you are likely to get nowhere fast because your team all have different ideas on how something should be completed. A recipe for disaster!
An Extremely Effective Business Tool
This type of document is extremely effective in improving the performance of any business regardless of the type. A good quality Procedure Manual points the business in one clear direction and persuades all team members to follow.
The best procedure manuals have one process only for each task required in the business. You can’t have five different places for the same task if you are trying to meet consistency targets.
It simply won’t work. You must have one instruction for the one task only.
The easiest and fastest way to create a procedure manual is to use a procedure manual template.
Finding a free procedure manual template online is easy, but finding the right one is hard work. Check out our research about all the free procedure manual templates we could find below.
Free Opportunities Everywhere
Everyone loves a bargain – don’t you? Even better – everyone loves it more when it is free! There are plenty of online opportunities to download a free procedure manual template.
If you need to get your company quality system fired up, a great way to kick it off is to find a good quality free procedure manual template.
If you are just starting out in business, need to improve the management of your team or improve the quality of your service or products, then you already know a procedure manual is going to help you achieve this. Getting your hands on a free good template is a great start.
You can then progress to a paid version later down the track if you want to improve the quality or functionality of how your system works. The main point is, you need to get your systems started as soon as possible. A fast way to activate this is to use a free procedure manual template that you can find online.
Business Failure – Avoid It
The last thing some business owners consider is business failure! They are so keen to make it work that they forget to consider why it possibly might fail.
Businesses fail for many reasons. However, one massive reason why a business fails is because the business owner fails to systematize their business.
They then become tired when they try to wear ‘too many hats’. Burnout is just around the corner. A Procedure Manual helps to delegate responsibility to your team while maintaining quality. This is crucial to ensure your customers or clients receive what they are expecting.
Systematizing Your Business Brings Huge Benefits
Systematizing a business brings massive benefits. One of these benefits is fighting off failure. This is done by delivering consistently through your system. Customers return when their expectations are continuously met for the price they pay.
Returning customers are the backbone of any successful business.
Read that one again: Returning customers are the backbone of any successful business.
In this article, we are going to look at the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of a procedure manual template. We will also look in detail about the options online for finding free templates that can get your Quality Manual System underway quickly, efficiently, as painless as possible all without wearing down your fingers on your keyboard!
So, let’s get started……
All About Free Procedure Manual Templates
Firstly, let’s take a good hard look at the free options available to you. Then we will elaborate a bit more about standards in business, progressing further to a more professional based system and where to find some free templates you can start with.
Then we will investigate a range of other things like what Digital Documents Direct provides for free, how to set up a manual quickly and a ton of other information to get you underway on your Quality Manual system and Procedure Manual.
Phew – I’m exhausted already….
What is a free procedure manual template?
Well, it’s obvious isn’t it?
Procedure manual templates, quality manuals, employee handbooks, standard operating procedure templates etc all are similar in that they perform the task of systematizing your business.
There are slight differences between the terms used, however if you are looking for free information then the web is full of opportunities to build your system manuals for free. (It’s probably gonna hurt though – so be ready for some grind).
What is in a free procedure manual template?
We have had a detailed look around the web to find out what free procedure manual templates are available and are happy to report the following below so keep on reading further down to learn more about what we found.
Please remember, you get what you pay for so typically a lot of these free templates we found were simply there to attract you to buy a more expensive option.
What does a good free procedure manual template look like?
Typically a free procedure manual template is a couple of pages that you could download in MS Word to allow you to create your own procedures. There really isn’t that much in it and it is probably something you could create yourself in a few minutes anyway.
However, these free templates available allow you to learn about how other companies set up their businesses and allow you to get some good free information about systematizing your business to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
A free procedure manual template is likely to do the trick
If you’re starting off in business, then a free procedure manual template is likely to do the trick. There are many advantages and disadvantages of using a free procedure manual template and starting from scratch.
If you are starting a business you need to watch what you are spending your cash on. It will go out the door quick – so looking for free options in almost anything is a good way to start. However, you don’t need to keep it that way. Once you get some momentum and the cash starts rolling in – it is then time to start purchasing better things for your business.
How many Companies and Organizations have Procedure Manuals?
Any successful business usually has an extensive system. These systems run the business and ensure it is ticking over daily – in a manner that makes money.
Just do a search online for some of the larger organizations and you will see there are extensive Procedure Manuals online to refer to.
A large amount of work
Building a system to run your business is a massive amount of work. However, you need this to get your business to run efficiently without you being there otherwise you don’t really have a business – you have a job.
A lot of larger Corporations and medium scale businesses are certified for ISO 9000. What’s that? Read on below.
What is ISO 9000?
The International Organization for Standardization creates and publishes ISO 9000. Wikipedia defines ISO 9000 as a quality assurance family of systems.
“The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems (QMS) standards is designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_9000
Created in 1987, the International Organization for Standardization published the ISO 9000 standards which were based on publications of government procurement standards that go way back to 1979. Remember then? Neither do I….
If you wanted to win government contracts, it was required for your organization to achieve standards and this still applies today in many countries.
If you want to win government contracts for your business, then you need to look further into ISO 9000 and get your business ready for certification to meet these requirements.
However – if you are just starting out or trying to grow your business, don’t worry too much about ISO 9000. You can plan for it later. It will overwhelm you and cost you about 10 to 15 K….A decent chunk of cash.
How does ISO 9000 relate to free procedure manuals and manuals for your business
If you are a small business, then meeting ISO 9000 requirements is likely not something you can investigate in the short to medium term. You really should just focus on getting your current procedures and policies sorted out to operate your business first and then down the track you can consider the requirements to meet the International Standards as your business grows.
When building your business, you will be documenting your QMS or Quality Manual System. Having some basic understanding of terminology will help you when you build your system.
There is a lot to learn, however if you are a small to medium business, the best thing you can do is keep things simple to start with.
Think about the team you have and explaining how to perform a task to them on paper. This shouldn’t be too difficult; in fact it should be relatively easy to break the processes into small tasks. The biggest hurdle is time. It takes a massive amount of effort to document your procedures and processes.
A great way to speed it up is to ask your team to help you develop policies and procedures. It couldn’t be better. They will then be part of building the business and it will also keep them very busy.
What is available online to help you get started?
Types of Procedure Manual Templates Online
There are a lot of different types of procedure manual templates available online.
Some of them are quite expensive, some of them are cheap and some of them are even free.
Google Results for Procedure Manual Templates
We have looked at several websites that are ranking best in Google. Check out the top results below. This may vary depending on your location.
You can see there are 56 million results. That is a huge amount…..it will take a while to get through them all.
Process St, Sample Templates.com and Template.net are dominating the top results at time of writing this post. These results do provide some free options for you, so it is worthwhile checking out their sites.
The types of procedure manuals available online vary widely. There are dramatic differences between simple procedure manuals and manuals that are complex.
If you look at some of the procedure manuals online, the complex templates can be very difficult to use. Sometimes it is often better to keep it simple.
Where to find good procedure manuals online
A simple Google search will identify a range of options for free procedure manuals and templates that you can modify to suit your business.
Unfortunately, there are not many comprehensive options out there.
The other notable aspect is there is way too much information online and it is easy to become overwhelmed very quickly. So, revert back to basics and start a simple MS Word procedure manual as you will be able to get this up and running relatively quickly.
We have reviewed several free procedure manuals template online. Check them out below.
All the Free Goodies!
OK, so we know you didn’t come here to get bored, (Ho Hum) but to find some good free stuff, right?! After-all, that is what the internet is about yeah? Free stuff….well sort of ( :
Well we have searched high and low on the internet to see if we could find some decent free procedure templates. We found lots and lots of options – almost too many options and got swamped with information overload….YIKES!
We also found a number of automated websites that will create procedures, processes and all the jing-a-ling for you.
Paid VS Free
Some of these websites require you to pay to get the full premium versions. Not to worry – you are starting out or strapped for cash, so you can still do it without getting distracted by all the paid bells and whistles that you probably aren’t gonna need anyway right?
If you are just starting out, it is good to keep things free as you want to watch your bottom line, so there is nothing wrong with starting from scratch and creating a procedure manual from any of the options below.
Take a ‘gawk’ below and see if you can come up Trumps…!
Free Option Number 1
Well number one on the list is our template from Digital Documents Direct. We have a free version and a paid version. If you are looking for something that has a lot of detailed already completed in it that is generic and suitable for nearly any type of business then take a look at our paid version.
If things are tight for you at the moment and you don’t mind spending some time creating your own template, then consider our free version as it will get you heading in the right direction. Scroll down further as it is available further down the page.
Free Option Number 2
The Bizmanualz website has a free templates available. Check them out and see if there is anything that suits your business.
We reviewed their website to see if there were any options that you could download for free that are useful. You need to sign up to their mailing list to get access to their free documents.
Once you have signed up – there are options for choosing free samples from several areas of their website which is helpful.
Money-Saving Bundles, Department Manuals, and Sector Manuals – so go ahead and check out what they have.
Free Option Number 3
Process St provide a range of free templates. If you dig into their website there are many options available.
Process St is a simple and powerful way to manage your team’s recurring checklists and procedures.
You can read more at their website: Process St
Free Option Number 4
Another good resource for finding free templates. There are plenty of things to look at on this website. Lots of ads too.
It looks like this website is related to TemplateLab, and SampleTemplates.com. I could be wrong however they look very similar. Still, there are plenty of templates to choose from and you can spend a ton of time looking through the templates to find something that suits you.
Free Option Number 5
Another good resource for finding free templates is sampletemplates.com. Sample templates has so much stuff and continually adding more. This site looks very similar to TemplateLab with a lot of the templates taken from businesses around the world.
This is very helpful to see how others have done it, but can make it difficult to actually get your document completed due to the massive amount of information that can become overwhelming.
Free Option Number 6
Converge Point is another great resource for finding free templates. Plenty of information on this site and very professional. Integration with Sharepoint is also an option.
If you visit their resources area there is plenty of information to consider there. You could be there a while….
Free Option Number 7
TemplateLab has tons of options to look through. Their website also has tons of ads you may find your first visit a bit confusing. However, after a while you get to understand what is an ad and what isn’t.
There are plenty of templates available, however by the looks of it, the majority of the templates are simply taken from organizations around the world. It will take you a while to go through them all and find something relevant to what you need.
Free Option Number 8
Lots to look at here.
Free Option Number 9
Microsoft has basic templates you can download. Their options are presented well and include a range of free choices.
However, you may find the content is a bit thin and you might need to add a lot of your own information to make it worthwhile.
Free Option Number 10
Smartsheet is very professional and includes a range of templates for just about anything. A lot of the templates are a bit light on detail, however there are tons to choose from.
You may find it hard to find something specific though for your business. There are of course premium options available as well which you might want to consider.
Free Option Number 11
Good resources available at this website.
So there are 11 websites with a ton of free content available. Make sure you check them out.
Finding a Free Procedure Manual Template that is Good Quality
Finding a simple free company policies and procedures template online can take considerable effort. You could be looking to improve your customer service processes and procedures or just looking to get a simple document started for your team.
At Digital Documents Direct, we like to keep things as simple as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than complex processes that end up wasting time and money to achieve a common purpose.
We have collated a simple free procedure manual that you can download and use for your business.
This manual is not a fully detailed and complete manual; however it is a good start and something you can use for your business to get things underway. But first let’s investigate the differences between procedures and policies.
What is the Difference Between a Policy Manual and a Procedure Manual?
Well, we have been talking a lot about procedure manuals. However, let’s take it one step further and talk also about Policy Manuals.
These are two different things but have similar aims – to educate, teach and show your team what your expectations of a business owner are without you being there.
Should you have policy manuals and procedures manuals in your business?
Short answer is – YES!
Policies and Procedures are different things. You can see from the graphic below as a simple business procedure example of the difference between a procedure and a policy.
Policies are usually descriptive and full of text. They outline the ‘rules’ and expectations.
Procedures are usually step by step examples of how to complete a task. Part of a process.
Is a Free Procedure Manual Really Worth it?
OK, after all this gibbering on about business procedure manuals and policy manuals, systems and processes and all that stuff it is about time for a lie down and a cuppa tea….
However, let’s keep going and talk a bit more about the benefits of getting a free procedure manual in your business quick smart.
Are any of these procedure manuals any good?
Yes – some of them are ok. They have a decent amount of information to get you going. However, you can wade through a ton of information before you find relevant information.
What is 1 Good Reason that you should purchase a detailed procedure manual instead of a free procedure manual?
If you pay for a manual you are likely to get a ton of content.
Some of it will be relevant and some of it won’t. However, it will certainly save you a massive amount of time. Just getting the content together takes years of work.
However – you need to ensure the content you are receiving is worthwhile – and that is the hard bit.
Paid manuals usually come with a massive amount of information that you can tweak to suit your business – but sometimes just the tweaking is going to take a lot of time.
If you’re looking for a free procedure manual you probably gonna have to put a lot of it together yourself…
Which is fine it you have plenty of time.
However, the last thing you need to do is waste a lot of time building a procedure manual because you got it for free. It’s all about time. How much time do you have? And what quality level do you need?
Talking about quality and systems, The E-Myth Revisited is a book you should read.
Michael E. Gerber and a System Based Business
Michael E. Gerber is an American author that is all over the procedure and policy system-based business set up. If you haven’t read any of his books, then you better get cracking.
The E Myth Revisited
This is one of his first books he created and is a revised version. It certainly has many ideas about how to structure your business to help you stay in the entrepreneur mindset and away from the Manager mindset.
Establishing procedures and guidelines for your team to follow are just one of the things he mentions in his books. Also take a look at another of his books E Myth Mastery for more complex business ideas.
They are a great read and outline the importance of creating a system-based business. In summary, there is tons of information within his books about how to develop your business with systems in mind.
Following on from the E Myth is Emyth Mastery. Certainly another good book to read if you are a small business owner. This book outlines 7 essential areas to focus on if you want to grow your business.
Worthwhile getting your teeth into if you haven’t heard of his organization.
Quality System for Your Whole Business
So, once you have started to get your head around the differences of a procedure manual and a policy manual, it is time to now think about each department of your business and apply this knowledge to each area.
You need to line up all areas of your business, so they are all operating from a systems based manual.
This is a massive undertaking if you are starting from scratch.
Apply to all Areas of Your Business
You will need to apply both a Procedure Manual and a Policy Manual to all areas of your business. This could include the following areas:
- Human Resources (HR)
- Accounting and Finance
- Marketing and Advertising
- Information Technology
- Customer Service
- Legal Department
WHOA! That is a lot of work. Yeah – either do it or out-source to other companies. You don’t really have a choice.
The Detail of a Procedure Manual
When trying to build something that very complex the best way to do it is to break it down into manageable small chunk size pieces so that your team can understand it the simplest form possible and deliver it step by step.
This is how you should be setting up your Procedure Manual. If your business is complex, then this will take a lot of time, however it will deliver the quality you are looking for.
If you really want to focus on quality in your business, then you will need to spell it out – step by step. It takes an incredible amount of effort and detail to do this, however it is worth it.
As soon as new team members join your business, they will be able to read the Quality Manual system and complete their daily tasks on a much easier to understand basis.
You will be able to relax a little knowing your product or service is going out the door with quality attached to it and repeat work should start coming your way.
A Simple Procedure Example
Think about your business and all the tasks that happen daily. If you have simple tasks, you want your team to know that they need to perform them accurately.
Just because the task is simple doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be completed with a high degree of accuracy.
Check out a simple procedure below as an example. This is a relatively simple task of preparing a meeting room for use.
If your junior administration team need to know how to complete this task, it is listed out step by step. Check it out below.
You can see the format is simple, the steps are simple and the images help to assist in understanding the relative task required.
A Simple Policy Example
So if you are building your quality system you also should include Policies. These documents help to communicate the standards to your team.
Your team need to know where they stand when it comes to how they behave in your business. If they can’t follow your standards or don’t want to follow your standards, then there is a high chance they should likely look elsewhere for a job.
Communicating these policies will ensure your team know exactly what is appropriate for many different areas of behavior.
Check out this simple example below.
Communicating these standards to your team is a relatively simple exercise and certainly worth the effort. Use templates to save yourself and massive amount of time.
What Format Will You Use?
Depending on where you are in the creation of your quality manual will determine what format you will use.
Obviously you can use a simple format like MS Word and create a manual quickly and cheaply. However over time you will find that this may not be suitable enough. Below we take a look at what might be an option for you.
Using MS Word – Is it Good Enough?
If you are building your Quality System, then the simplest and fastest way to kick things off is to use MS Word. You might be trying to speed it up by looking for a free Microsoft word policy and procedure manual template.
Most of the templates given away for free online are just that – MS Word documents stripped back with minimal content.
MS Word is going to help you get things going fast, however you will quickly realize you need something else to build your quality manual as it grows quickly.
Regardless of where you end up in the future, starting with a free standard operating procedure template in Microsoft word is going to kick things off for you really quick and enable you to start getting the content together efficiently and in one place which then can be transferred to another platform at a later date if needed.
Digital Documents Direct Free Procedure Manual Template
OK, so after all the text above and all the talking, we would love for you to download our free procedure manual template. It’s not our full version, however it is a good version we think and something you can start to set up your business with.
So, check it out below in an easy MS Word format for you to download – 100% free with no signups or anything. Just a gift from us for coming to our website and reading this far down….
If you need more detailed versions then don’t hesitate to check out our paid versions as well. They are really for small to medium businesses and are easy to purchase, download and apply to your business in minutes.
Click the image below or ‘Right Click’ and ‘Save As’ thingy…
You know what to do….we hope you like it.
Click the images below for our Procedure Manual Template Free Version.
So taking a look at all the things we have discussed.
- Free Procedure Manuals are going to be just that – Free. However, it is highly likely you will be working hard to create a suitable manual for your business if you get it for free.
- Systemizing your business is extremely important. You risk failure if you don’t set standards for all aspects of your business.
- There are massive opportunities online to get hold of information to start your procedure manual. The problem is – there is too much information.
- Procedure manuals and policy manuals are 2 different things. You need both. (Operations Manual is the big name for the whole thing).
- A procedure manual is just a part of it. Once your business progresses and grows – you will then want to start getting formal certification in something like ISO 9000. All the best with that!
- Build your business on quality only and forget everything else. Quality comes through building an expert Quality Manual System and implementing it.
- Detail is required for any procedure manual. You need to drill down to ensure your team know all the detail.
Join the Conversation
So, what other things should you be including in your Procedure Manual? Leave a comment below with some of the ideas that you have added to your procedure manual.